An interesting question: Does someone that wants to go to college for computer science need to be a person that enjoys mathematics classes?

I suppose it depends on the type of computer science they go into. For example, if you want to go into web development, and get a degree in it, they don't need to take every single math class offered. However, if they go into complete computer science, they probably need to take a good amount of math (including calculus), as their job is more mathematically-inclined. Am I correct?

Either way, a student is probably encouraged to take extra math classes, as they provide strong logic-based skills, necessary in nearly all aspects of computer science. So, what are your opinions?

## 18 Replies - 4152 Views - Last Post: 12 March 2011 - 02:45 PM

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**Replies To:** Computer Science = Mathematics?

### #2

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 26 February 2011 - 07:14 PM

Moved to Student Campus.

I wouldn't call Web Development computer science. It is IT and Computer Programming, but not a lot of theory generally. Computer Science hits hard on theory like algorithms and data structures, AI, operating systems, etc.

Certainly computer scientists will have to take general math and science courses like all engineers such as Calc I-III, Differential Equations, Vector Geometry, Linear Algebra, Engineering Physics, and Freshman Chemistry. But computer science programs focus more on finite and discrete mathematics. This includes fields like Graph Theory, Combinatorics, Number Theory, Set Theory (which is heavily used in relational database theory), etc.

If one isn't a math person, the business departments of most schools offer an Information Systems program that hits more on practical applications of IT and programming with minimal theory. You're more likely to find your web development courses here.

I wouldn't call Web Development computer science. It is IT and Computer Programming, but not a lot of theory generally. Computer Science hits hard on theory like algorithms and data structures, AI, operating systems, etc.

Certainly computer scientists will have to take general math and science courses like all engineers such as Calc I-III, Differential Equations, Vector Geometry, Linear Algebra, Engineering Physics, and Freshman Chemistry. But computer science programs focus more on finite and discrete mathematics. This includes fields like Graph Theory, Combinatorics, Number Theory, Set Theory (which is heavily used in relational database theory), etc.

If one isn't a math person, the business departments of most schools offer an Information Systems program that hits more on practical applications of IT and programming with minimal theory. You're more likely to find your web development courses here.

### #3

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 26 February 2011 - 07:18 PM

I am beginning to get sick of this question. Yes you have to take SOME math. Is it going to be 99% of the degree? No. Do you have to love math to do computer science? No... but if you want to solve some of computing's hardest problems, there will probably be math... probability, geometry, a little algebra and perhaps some kinds of accounting if you are dealing with financial systems.

No one expects you to be a full mathematician, they do expect you to take a formula and know how to plug in values, think logically and be able to problem solve. I am a programmer and work as a programmer. They hand me a formula once in awhile. Sometimes I am expected to find a formula. Unless you are going to develop scientific programs for NASA or Wall street financial systems, you probably will use less math than you think.

Either way, take the math classes required and get through them. Most of a computer science is just that, computers.

No one expects you to be a full mathematician, they do expect you to take a formula and know how to plug in values, think logically and be able to problem solve. I am a programmer and work as a programmer. They hand me a formula once in awhile. Sometimes I am expected to find a formula. Unless you are going to develop scientific programs for NASA or Wall street financial systems, you probably will use less math than you think.

Either way, take the math classes required and get through them. Most of a computer science is just that, computers.

### #4

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 26 February 2011 - 07:21 PM

Also, just throwing this out there. My calculus looks more like code, and my teacher tells me it's ugly mathematics (though still the correct process). When looking at my Calculus, you'll probably ask if it's Lisp. In contrast, my teacher is a mathematician and can code, but thinks his code is ugly. It's a matter of perspective and interest, though having a little more than basic competency in both to prepare you for either field.

### #5

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 26 February 2011 - 07:33 PM

Actual Computer Science courses (aka theory based, not programming focused for example) are math intensive. This was less prevalent in undergrad, but the majority of my grad work is nothing but mathematical induction on CS topics like sorts, data structures, etc... Calculus, calculus, and more calculus.

Case in point: there's a large difference between "prove this merge sort is correct" and "write a correct merge sort". It's good to be exposed to both.

Shameless plug.

Case in point: there's a large difference between "prove this merge sort is correct" and "write a correct merge sort". It's good to be exposed to both.

Shameless plug.

### #6

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:13 PM

this question again...

and the answer... well just look in my sig (below the picture of my butt)

and the answer... well just look in my sig (below the picture of my butt)

### #7

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:30 PM

Yes, you need math. If you don't enjoy it, you're probably gonna get unhappy with cs after a bit. Just be lucky cs doesn't make you do all the hard maths. It could be a lot worse.

### #8

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 27 February 2011 - 07:48 AM

Yes, computer science is a branch of mathematics. When I was a student I was actually taught roughly 50/50 between the departments of computer science and mathematics as there is a lot of overlap.

I have noticed that on modern courses the math content has been reduced greatly, being replaced with web development and other more non math-specific studies more associated with information technology.

It's a shame really.

I have noticed that on modern courses the math content has been reduced greatly, being replaced with web development and other more non math-specific studies more associated with information technology.

It's a shame really.

### #9

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 27 February 2011 - 12:52 PM

Everything depends on the school that you're attending.

For example, at the University of Chicago, CS is pretty much a branch of mathematics. Almost everywhere else, it's not. You won't be seeing much math besides the basic calculus and discrete stuff. So whatever your definition of CS is, as far as your curriculum concerned it'll almost certainly be "CS =/= Mathematics".

For example, at the University of Chicago, CS is pretty much a branch of mathematics. Almost everywhere else, it's not. You won't be seeing much math besides the basic calculus and discrete stuff. So whatever your definition of CS is, as far as your curriculum concerned it'll almost certainly be "CS =/= Mathematics".

### #10

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:05 AM

It doesnt really matter anymore, whatever branch of computer science you go into, you'll need some pretty high end maths.

Strictly speaking, computer science is Algebra, Calc, Trig, discrete etc.

However I am in a CIS/BIS program and I still have had to have these math classes. Granted they are taught in a "applied" manner, but you still have to be somewhat good in math if your going into computers.

So yes, you may need a minor in mathematics for CS.

Strictly speaking, computer science is Algebra, Calc, Trig, discrete etc.

However I am in a CIS/BIS program and I still have had to have these math classes. Granted they are taught in a "applied" manner, but you still have to be somewhat good in math if your going into computers.

So yes, you may need a minor in mathematics for CS.

### #11

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 09 March 2011 - 11:06 AM

I know computer science is more towards calc 1 and 2, discrete math, and maybe stats. Keep in mind, computer engineering, at least at my school, requires: calc 1 - 3 (out of 4), differential equations, linear algebra, discrete math, and stats. Just throwing that out there should you decide to change majors.

EDIT: Actually, at my school, you have to have everything I listed for ceg but minus diff eq.

http://www.cs.wright...ents/bscs.shtml

EDIT: Actually, at my school, you have to have everything I listed for ceg but minus diff eq.

http://www.cs.wright...ents/bscs.shtml

This post has been edited by **NeoTifa**: 09 March 2011 - 11:10 AM

### #12

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 09 March 2011 - 12:30 PM

Your at an engineering college from what I can tell. Pretty nice school too from their website. I wish indiana had more engineering programs. Purdue has the engineering stuff in my state and they arent too forgiving about credits.

### #13

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:17 PM

I went to an interview at the University of Kent recently and they said that while experience with advanced maths can be useful, they teach as if students only have a basic knowledge. This is because the maths taught from a Mathematicians point of view is very different to that of a Computer Scientist.

### #14

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 09 March 2011 - 02:50 PM

AlbuquerqueApache, on 09 March 2011 - 02:30 PM, said:

Your at an engineering college from what I can tell. Pretty nice school too from their website. I wish indiana had more engineering programs. Purdue has the engineering stuff in my state and they arent too forgiving about credits.

Actually they tend to focus on their med program. The University splits into several "colleges" that you have to work to get into. Basically everybody starts out pre-degree or intednded degree in "University College", then you do your requirements to get into your major college. Mine happens to be "College of Engineering and Computer Science". To get in I had to have a GPA of 2.25, take English 101 and 102, Engineering 190 (intro to engineering), Computer Science 240 (Java 1), and Discrete Math. If you don't get into your major college within 2 years they force you to change your intended major. Only once you get into your major college do they declare you a full major. I think they do this for advising purposes. Pretty ghey.

•Colleges

◦Education & Human Services

◦Engineering & Computer Science

◦Liberal Arts

◦Nursing & Health

◦Raj Soin College of Business

◦School of Graduate Studies

◦Boonshoft School of Medicine

◦School of Professional Psychology

◦Science and Mathematics

◦University College

This post has been edited by **NeoTifa**: 09 March 2011 - 02:53 PM

### #15 Guest_traxex90*

## Re: Computer Science = Mathematics?

Posted 10 March 2011 - 09:42 PM

Everything involves math anyway